Quick Roasted Brussels sprouts

A Secret Shared

Tonight I have to be at the meditation center. Our little study group, all long-time practitioners of Buddhist meditation, will meet at 5:30. With our teacher’s blessing, 8-10 of us are reading and discussing sacred “terma,” or “hidden treasure” texts from the Shambhala tradition. The road to this study group was long. Many years of dedicated meditation practice, contemplation, retreats, and funds were required. Perhaps this is why we are so few. Students of meditation, we are also school teachers, engineers, bookkeepers, artists, Internet geeks, business executives, nurses, parents, and grandparents. The ... continue reading
The Path of Meditation

The True Refuge

According to my meditation teacher, to practice meditation is to be vulnerable, requiring the discipline of simplifying and slowing down. This journey takes intelligence and a willingness to acknowledge our connection to others. Sitting on our meditation cushion, we are exposed. Our willingness to be exposed is an expression of strength. Of course security is important and meditation requires relaxation. But if we are left alone for a minute, and we give our discursiveness a rest, inevitably we begin to feel. To feel what we are feeling is to be human. ... continue reading
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Remembering My Self

April 1st Barnet, Vermont We remember here Acharya Michael Greenleaf, a senior teacher in Shambhala and a co-founder of the wildly successful Mukpo Institute. The Acharya’s road to revered ‘would-be Master’ was not easy or anticipated. As a boy, he mercilessly harassed his one sibling, a younger brother. Both smarter and more sensitive than Michael, Tony suffered this abuse with dignity. Later, Michael would take credit for “introducing my brother to the Buddhist path of patience and loving kindness.” By the age of 13, a growing intuition told Michael that his destiny lay in ... continue reading
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Letter to Seniors: 7 Ways You Can Help

Editor’s Note: In this blog post, Michael Greenleaf imagines a letter from a member of the younger generation to those of us who are older. The tone suggests that age brings more responsibility not less, that to grow old is to grow up, and that these times carry with them some urgency. The qualities demanded in the blog are consistent with practice on the meditation cushion. In meditation we allow ourselves to slow down. Willing to expose our true nature to ourselves, genuineness, intelligence and caring for others are naturally ... continue reading
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Me Who Loathes Me: The Interview

On cold and rainy afternoon in West Barnet recently, I caught up with the Me Who Loathes Me. We shared a cup of tea and watched the clouds moving across the sky. Me: So, when was it we last got together? MLM: Yeah, not so long ago—at the funeral service for Paul, a fellow practitioner of mindfulness. Me: Yes, Paul, what a wonderful man! MLM: Yeah, if anyone ever put your schtick in stark contrast, it was Paul. He understood goodness, something that still eludes you. What do you actually do on your meditation cushion ... continue reading
Take the Test!

The Contentment Test

This year, the Christian tradition of Lent falls during the weeks before and after the first day of spring. Lent is a time associated with purification and renunciation. While Buddhism is no stranger to these practices, one of the words for renunciation in Tibetan can also be translated as “contentment”. (The word is chok-she, which literally means “to know enough, to know what is enough”.) Rather than self-sacrifice or a lowering of expectation, contentment refers to waking up from the confusion of continuous want; appreciating the richness of experience in each ... continue reading
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The Science (and not) of Meditation

There are many good reasons to meditate, some empirical, some personal. Science Scientific studies confirm: Meditation Helps. These studies track the impact of meditation on physical health and psychological distress. Because they use the scientific method and focus on empirical findings, they’re something (just about) everyone can agree on. This is one of the wonderful things about science. The scientific benefits of meditation are increasingly well-documented. Here are a few of the headlines—the most striking benefits, from the most credible sources: Cuts cardiac patients’ heart attack and stroke risk nearly in half (by 47%) ... continue reading
Be Here Heart

For Men Only: A Valentine

Dear hombre, how can you be in relationship if you don’t know, well–how to be?  Whether you are strutting in your Cole Haans  or clumping around in Carhartts, stress leaves you hard to find and blinds you to beauty in the moment. Regular mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce stress—in other words, meditation supports relationship success. Here are five ways: 1)    Take-Home Pay In tuning you up, we can’t ignore the green. Your ability to provide is a turn on. But if you take work home in the form of worry, ... continue reading
Pop's Pentagram on Pale Green

Meditation–It’s Science!

We report here on several groundbreaking new scientific studies with impressive results for those practicing mindfulness meditation. First, scientists have discovered that regular meditation sessions can help couples get along. In one experiment, self-avowed “difficult” spouses were asked to practice once a day on their meditation cushion. After three months, over 60% of their suffering partners found the new meditator “more bearable.” “Sure he’s less moody” confided a relieved wife, “but when my husband is meditating, the TV is off, he’s not making a mess and he’s not bothering me. This is ... continue reading
Red Brain, Blue Brain

Cliff Dwellers

I promise, this blog is not about the fiscal cliff, slope or whatever it was. Not really. But I have to wonder, how it is we are all going to find reason in our relations with each other. By all accounts, the President made offers that should have enticed Republicans long before the deadline. “Why,” some wondered, couldn’t the holdouts in the House of Representatives just “listen to reason.” In a book reviewed by the Times last spring, the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt offers an answer. In “The Righteous Mind,” Haidt ... continue reading